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Russian Federation/Ingushetia/Chechnya

Briefing notes

Russian Federation/Ingushetia/Chechnya

22 October 1999

The Ingush authorities say the number of people uprooted by the Russian military crackdown in Chechnya now stands at more than 160,000. More than 114,000 have been registered by the Ingush migration service. The influx continues and the Ingush authorities fear that as many as 300,000 people will pour into Ingushetia if the Russian military push continues. Shelter is already a major problem with some 7,100 of the displaced living in tents and 5,000 in wagons and dilapidated buildings. UNHCR is increasingly concerned about the situation which could leave tens of thousands of people without shelter at the onset of a harsh northern Caucasus winter.

UNHCR's fourth convoy of twelve 20-ton trucks will be despatched today, Friday. The shipment includes food as well as blankets, kitchen sets; plastic sheeting, jerry cans, stoves and water tanks.

Meanwhile, small groups of the displaced mostly ethnic Russians, are returning to the northern parts of Chechnya controlled by the Russian federal forces. On 19 October, a 10-bus convoy organised by Russia's government-run aid agency EMERCOM transported 512 persons from Mozdok/North Ossetia to Shelkovskoi district of Chechnya. On Thursday, the second convoy consisting of 15 buses left Mozdok with 705 people on board.

UNHCR monitors from Ingushetia have not reported any cases of either forcible return to the northern part of Chechnya or involuntary movement of people to other regions of the Russian Federation.